South East England

A church in the south east of England discerned a vision to be:

“A family church where everyone is welcomed and valued and offers support and encouragement to all.

  1. A Worshipping Family – giving glory to God as we share in worship together
  2. A Nurturing Family – supporting each other through friendship, teaching and Christian discipleship
  3. An Extending Family – reaching out to others and meeting their needs”

These three pillars informed the elders’ agenda; its church meeting agenda and its newsletter content. It gave them a structure and a focus to continuously deliver the vision.

Below are some of the achievements owing from this vision:

  • Joint services were organised with two partner churches that used the buildings; one a charismatic Evangelical Church, the other a church in a more Orthodox tradition. These services enriched and diversified Worship in church.
  • An annual bereavement service was held for members and non- members to remember loved ones.
  • An annual service was held at Christmas with a local school who used the premises each week.
  • A pastoral visitors team was set up, with each visitor supporting an elder.
  • Working ecumenically the church hosted and resourced staffing for a night shelter for homeless people during the cold winter months.
  • Its users were redefined as partners, each partner was assigned an elder, with regular opportunities for joint partner get together.
  • The church sanctuary was remodelled as a multi-purpose space, open seven days a week.
  • Significant funding for the redevelopment was obtained from Synod, based on the church’s vision and mission.
  • A Giving Campaign was launched that underpinned the financial viability of the church.
  • 5% of income was distributed each year to local and international charities.Through these actions and activities, the church was transformed from a somewhat inward-looking church, constantly concerned with decaying buildings, to an outward-looking church which focused on its community.
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